June 01, 2008
ACCME rethinks 'commercial interest'
In its March meeting, the ACCME revisited the question of what constitutes a “commercial interest” ineligible for accreditation and “agreed that under some circumstances, organizations that are currently exempted from being considered an ACCME-defined commercial interest could become one when they own all or part of an entity that is aligned or in partnership with a firm taking an FDA-regulated product to market.”
The ACCME recently changed its definition of “commercial interest” to include companies that market drugs and devices as well as those that manufacture, resell or distribute them, forcing medical education and communications companies owned by marketing firms to separate from their parents or lose accreditation.
Those firms have complained that many academic and institutional providers are subject to the same potential conflicts of interest targeted in the rule change impacting MECCs—for example, some universities own drug incubators, and some medical societies handle promotional med ed or publish journals that accept drug advertising. ACCME's rethink of the issue seems aimed at addressing this.
Via email, Murray Kopelow, CEO of ACCME, said simply: “It is not restricted to any specific provider type,” adding that a number of organization types are exempted from the definition, including 501c nonprofits and nursing homes.